With Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards weighing heavily on the minds of automakers, many are looking at a multitude of ways to boost gas mileage and efficiency.
However, when it comes to conventional powertrains, Toyota; appears to be lagging behind many rivals who’ve been adding such features as turbocharging, direct injection, continuously variable transmissions, diesels and lightweight engines, all as measures to boost fuel economy.
However, to be fair, Toyota has been suffering setbacks, in the form of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last year, which significantly hampered the global supply chain, disrupting production and volume. More recently, a high-profile “unintended acceleration,” probe tied up resources that otherwise would have been allocated to powertrain development.
Nevertheless, with production having ramped up significantly and quality improving, Toyota is planning to tackle the fuel economy issue via turbocharging and possibly diesel engines, in an effort to catch up with major rivals. However, in the short term, the automaker plans to make its U.S. lineup more efficient via aerodynamics and gearing, an example being the 2013 Toyota Corolla, which has received mild styling enhancements and a new transmission.
On the truck front, given Ford’s success with the EcoBoost V6 in its F-150, rivals are scrambling to follow suit with more fuel-efficient powertrains. Given Toyota’s tie-in with heavy Japanese truck manufacturer Hino, a diesel engine in the full-size Tundra and even the smaller Tacoma might be seen as logical. Toyota offers diesel pickups in other markets; therefore providing such an oil-burning unit that is able to meet EPA standards, would be seen as a trump card, especially as none of its U.S. based rivals plan to offer half-ton diesel pickups, at least in the near term.